Family-style Meatballs

Around the Rosso kitchen, meatballs make a perfect culinary canvas for eager young chefs. Kids love getting involved, hand-mixing and shaping the gooey meat-and-egg combination. Recipes are also simple and fun to modify; each time meatball night comes around, the culinary dreamer can imagine a new mix of pork, beef, and lamb with no risk of "messing up." The spice mix also lends itself to creativity and experimentation, though you might consider hiding the salt from an overzealous sous chef. Serve alone with dipping sauce as a snack, or with traditional pasta for dinner. 


  • 2 pounds of ground meat, the Rossos like to use a mixture of pork, beef, and lamb

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Optional: Extra egg mixture and parmesan for encrusted meatballs


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.

  2. Combine the milk and breadcrumbs. Place the breadcrumbs in a small bowl, pour in the milk, and stir to combine. Set aside while preparing the rest of the meatball mixture. The breadcrumbs will absorb the milk and become soggy.

  3. Whisk the egg, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and parsley. Whisk the egg in a large bowl until broken up. Add the Parmesan, salt, and a generous quantity of black pepper, and whisk to combine.

  4. Add the ground meat. Add the meat to the egg mixture. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the egg mixture into the ground meat.

  5. Add the garlic and soaked breadcrumbs. Mix them thoroughly into the meat with your fingers. Try not to overwork the meat; pinch the meat between your fingers rather than kneading it.

  6. Form the meat into meatballs. Have a rimmed baking sheet ready. Pinch off a piece of the meat mixture and gently roll between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each). Continue shaping until all the meat is used, placing the meatballs on the baking sheet so that they are not touching.

  7. Option to encrust the meatballs:  Roll the balls in a mixture of egg and Parmesan before cooking.

  8. Roast the meatballs in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs are done when cooked through and the outsides are browned, and when they register 165°F in the middle on an instant-read thermometer. Serve immediately.

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